After a glittering amateur career, Renato Paratore will hit his first shot as a professional this week at The European Tour’s Qualifying School Final Stage as the Italian aims to follow his close friend Matteo Manassero to the highest echelons of the world game.
At 17 years of age, Paratore is the youngest man in the field at PGA Catalunya Resort this week but he arrives in the paid ranks with a burgeoning reputation, having risen to as high as fifth in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Wins at the Portuguese Amateur Championship and Italian Amateur Stroke Play Championship earlier in the year were followed by an individual Gold Medal at the Youth Olympics and a second appearance at the Junior Ryder Cup at The Blairgowrie Golf Club in September.
Now, Paratore believes it is time he proved his worth as a professional and he cannot wait to get going, having earned his place in this week’s gruelling six-round marathon via Second Stage, finishing tied eight at Panoramica Golf and Sport Resort.
“I turned professional this week,” said the Roman. “I’m really excited because it’s a new start for me, it’s a new experience.
“I decided that if I made it through Second Stage I would turn professional and if I didn’t I would remain as an amateur. I would like to be a European Tour player now and I’m confident that maybe I can do that.
“I am playing well. I know it’s going to be difficult but I am playing good golf. I had a good week at Second Stage and my short game is in great shape.
“I won four tournaments this year as an amateur, two abroad and two in Italy and I made the cut in the Open de España so it’s been a really good year so far. I played the Junior Ryder Cup again too and that was another really good experience, so I thought maybe now is the time to turn pro.
“Now I would like to get my European Tour card and play a full season on there. I played on the Challenge Toas an amateur and it was really good preparation for the Qualifying School. I didn’t make the cut but it was good to see the level I would be up against and prepare for that.
“It’s a much different scenario for me being professional because it is work now. I need to be more serious and it’s also more difficult.”